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Mangano trolling is the same sad song from Nassau

Shaking hands, kissing asses, rinse, repeat.

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Yes, Virginia. There was a time when the Coliseum had no ads on the outside.
Yes, Virginia. There was a time when the Coliseum had no ads on the outside.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Islanders trivia quiz: Who said the following quote?

"This new complex, funded by nontaxpayers' dollars, will meet the future needs of the New York Islanders, eliminate the yearly drain of tax dollars to support the current Coliseum facility and provide the county with a needed economic benefit,"

We'll get to the answer at the bottom of this article. But let's begin with the shot heard 'round #IslesTwitter yesterday.

Nassau County executive Ed Mangano, the man who oversaw the Islanders' announcement and eventual move from Uniondale to Brooklyn next Fall, tweeted the following unprompted on a Wednesday in January:

(Note: when I say "Ed Mangano tweeted," I'm fully aware that the person pressing the Send button was most likely an assistant, intern or other lackey directed by Mangano or someone in his office to "say something" for some reason. I have no idea. But since it came from Mangano's official account, we'll accept the tweet as his words.)

To post that message at this time could be construed as startling tone-deafness or blatant trolling. But it's really just a new verse to an old song sung by Nassau County leadership for ages. Nine months before the Islanders officially begin their new life at Barclays Center, three months into a season in which the team has been one of the best in the NHL for the first time in three decades and during a week-long break for the All Star Game (which features two Islanders, by the way), Mangano decided it was time to remind everyone of all the great, fun stuff coming to the Islanders' soon-to-be-ex-home.

The responses were unkind, incredulous and, in some rare cases, pragmatic.

[Mangano's] problem is that no amount of smoke is going to make people suddenly forget that Long Island's only professional sports franchise is about to leave the heart of Long Island.

One of Mangano's responsibilities is to make sure his constituents feel he's got their best interests in mind. Promising them exciting municipal attractions fits the bill. His problem is that no amount of smoke is going to make people suddenly forget that Long Island's only professional sports franchise is about to leave the heart of Long Island.

Those people have been hearing toothless, arbitrary hot air like that tweet for decades. Whether it was Mangano, his predecessor Thomas Suozzi, his predecessor Tom Gulotta, Town of Hempstead supervisor Kate Murray, ex-New York Senator Alphonse D'Amato or a host of other characters up and down the totem pole, politicians have always talked up the bright future of the Nassau Hub and delivered exactly zero results.

As the owner of Nassau Coliseum, the county has known about the arena's age and stagnation for a very long time.  No matter who owned the franchise, the No. 1 issue on their plate was securing a new arena to not only compete with those around league but one that could provide more revenue streams and help mitigate operating costs the way their rivals were doing. Take the below quote for instance:

"We're right in the middle of looking at the possibility of building a new arena, perhaps with private funds," said owner John Pickett.

That's from a March 1991 story about the Islanders lobbying the county to add seats to the Coliseum that would bring the capacity to 16,000. That number was less than the league was asking expansion teams to provide at the time, and is still the second smallest in the NHL. In the story, general manager Bill Torrey had commissioned a study to determine "the feasibility of adding seats or building from scratch."

"The long-term future for this franchise is tied to short-term (arena) improvements that must take place," Torrey said. "We are strictly a gate receipt team we make no money from parking and concessions."

That quote is actually from a month earlier, February 1991, when a group from Milwaukee denied having interest in purchasing the Islanders because the team couldn't be moved from Long Island under their current lease, the one that runs out this year.

Those are two of the oldest instances of the Islanders asking Nassau for help and searching for answers to secure their future. Either one could have come from any of the team's owners since.

Virtual Reality

Nine months after the Islanders announced their intention to leave, Nassau finally called in someone to fix the the joint up. They chose Bruce Ratner, ironically a partner in the Barclays Center, to renovate and rebuild the Nassau Coliseum property. The grand plans for the site? A smaller Coliseum, a movie theater, a bowling alley and, I kid you not, a Bass Pro Shops.

But anyone that's followed this saga knows better. They know that anything any politician connected to Nassau County promises for the Coliseum site is bogus. They have been stumping and talking and doing little else for a long time. All the while, the Islanders went through a series of unlikeable or untrustworthy owners, a few hundred players and a million losses in the same aging building with the same stifling lease.

A privately-funded solution for a new Coliseum and surrounding revenue-generating facilities was presented to the Town of Hempstead in 2006. Murray and her colleagues said no thank you. A year later, the voting public of Nassau - crushed by the weight of taxes levied by those very same politicians - said no to a municipal bond to pay for a new arena.

And now that the end is in sight - and with the team winning and leaving - Mangano is back to beat the same drums. Maybe Ratner's plan is the one that works. I don't recommend anyone hold their breath.

Whether you're banging down the door to get into  Barclays Center or cursing the ground it's built on, your decision is a product of Nassau's incompetence and indecision.

That quote at the top of the article? It's by Tom Gulotta from a 1996 Daily News story about his idea to sell the Coliseum to a private owner. That plan never got off the ground and a different one was hatched to build a movie theater, a "virtual reality arcade" (Note: LOL) and a bunch of stores near the Coliseum.

It took almost 20 years, but Nassau got exactly what it wanted back then. And without that pesky hockey team getting in the way.